“Bambino” gets his big hit in Breeders Crown – US Trotting News

Ken Weingartner

Hightstown, New Jersey – Ron Burke was forced to miss several big races on the Celebrity Bambino schedule because of the colt’s battle with illness, but the trainer is hoping his much-loved prospect will make up for the rest of the season.

The first Celebrity Bambino opportunity comes in Friday’s (October 28) $600,000 Breeder’s Wreath for 2-year-old male trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The colt, who won one of the event’s two elimination races last week, drew at the back post for the final and is 9-2 on the morning line with Yannick Gingras at the sulky.

Bought for $120,000 at last fall’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Celebrity Bambino is a son of muscle hill-Celebrity Ruth of the Champion Breeders Crown Master Lavec and Housethatruthbuilt family. He won his crown elimination by 2-3/4 lengths over Oh Well in 1:53.2.

The Ron Burke-trained Celebrity Bambino enters the Breeders Crown Finals with back-to-back wins. New Image Photo Media.

“That’s what we expected of him from the start,” Burke said. “We had high hopes. He was great at first, then he got sick and couldn’t recover. It took a lot of patience for me to skip a lot of races that I didn’t want to skip, but that was to prepare him for this week and the Valley Victory.

“I think he’s the real deal. I thought about it throughout training.

Celebrity Bambino, who was retired from the Peter Haughton Memorial Final on August 6, hit the board in seven of eight races, winning three. He won $122,207 for owners Burke Racing Stable, J&T Silva Stables, Knox Services and Phil Collura.

The colt enters the Breeders Crown final with back-to-back wins.

“He’s such a beautiful horse,” said Gingras. “He was my favorite workout. I absolutely loved him. I thought he had the potential to do that, and more. I thought he was a top horse. He got sick there, and Ronnie did the right thing. All credit goes to Ronnie, he gave him the time he needed and the horse is back.

Burke added: “He’s ready. I would be very surprised if he did a bad performance.

Oh Well, who won the Mohawk Million Sept. 24 at Mohawk, is the 3-1 favorite for Friday’s final despite starting from position nine. Tim Tetrick will be in trainer Marcus Melander’s sulky. The muscle hill-Fine Tuned Lady colt finished no worse than second in his seven starts this season, winning four and earning $734,205 for owner SRF Stable.

Mohawk Million winner Oh Well is the morning favorite in the Breeders Crown final despite starting from position nine. New Image Photo Media.

“I’m very happy with him,” Melander said. “He had a four-week layoff, so he should improve a lot with this start. It will be much sharper. (Post nine) is not ideal, but he is a strong horse and I think he can overcome it.

Melander will also send champion Peter Haughton Memorial Kilmister, who is 5-1 at post five with driver Brian Sears. Kilmister received a bye straight to the Breeders Crown final following his ‘Win-and-You’re-In’ win at Haughton.

A son of chapter seven-Treviso, Kilmister enters Friday’s race with a fifth-place finish in an Oct. 7 split of the International Stallion Stakes at the Red Mile in which he lost pace at the start. For the season, won five of eight races and earned $301,875 for owner Courant Inc.

“The gate goes really slow at the Red Mile sometimes and he got really excited,” Melander said. “He had been there almost two months, so it was good for him to go home (to New Jersey). He’s much more relaxed at home.

“He feels good. We’re just going straight to the final. It feels quite lively. (Post five) is perfect. Couldn’t have been better. I didn’t really want one or two with him because he can get a little excited behind the door. The five holes is perfect.

Gaines Hanover won Breeders Crown’s other elimination in 1:53, a record for a 2-year-old gelding, by 2-3/4 lengths on The Gruffalo. He is the second choice 7-2 from the near post with Louis Philippe Roy at the wheel of coach Richard Moreau.

Gaines Hanover earned her Breeders Crown elimination with a record 1:53. New photo media image.

The Cantab Hall-Gatka Hanover son won three of seven races, including a Champlain Stakes split Sept. 15 at Mohawk, and won $67,461 for owner Gestion JY Blais Inc.

“I was surprised,” Moreau said of Gaines Hanover’s elimination effort. “I like the horse, don’t get me wrong, but it’s late in the season and there are bigger and stronger horses. He is rather of medium height. But he did what he had to do, and he made my day.

“I’m happy for these (owners) from Montreal because they’ve always been in the business, they own their own farm and every year they have a young horse that rides. They deserve it.

The four Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds will be played on Friday at Mohawk. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) with Crown Fields behind the gate in races six through nine. The finals for horses 3 years and older take place on Saturday, also from 7.

For free programs for Mohawk cards, click here.

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